Retainer Report

The retainer report helps you keep an eye on the service level across a group of jobs.

Miel De Rycke avatar
Written by Miel De Rycke
Updated over a week ago

Splitting jobs

In Streamtime, projects are often broken down into multiple jobs. This is typical for retainer work, but it can also be the case for very large projects that have a number of complex phases. The main characteristic of split jobs is that the time and expenses tracked and the invoices issued can sit on any job inside the retainer.

For example, you could have one master retainer job that has all the invoices and 42 smaller jobs that have all the time and expenses logged. When reporting on this retainer, we must make sure all 43 jobs are included, to avoid the total getting skewed.

Not every job needs to be split.

Note that you should always consider whether it is actually necessary to break a project across multiple jobs. This will depend mostly on the size and complexity of the project.

While it's not a bad idea to break a large retainer into 12 individual jobs for the year, it's easy enough to manage smaller retainers as a single job. A small retainer job could have 12 items or even 12 phases each with a number of items inside. So only split your jobs if you really have to.

Tagging jobs

Once your jobs are split, it is important we can find a common way of grouping them together. You could do this on the basis of the job name, e.g. giving 12 jobs an identical name with a suffix of the month and year to distinguish between them. But naming conventions are not very handy when it comes to reporting. You're better of using job labels.

Grouping for retainers

The wayahead retainer report will group Streamtime jobs based on client names and/or job labels, for example:

  • Retainer 1: All jobs labeled "P&G 2023 Retainer", regardless of the client name

  • Retainer 2: All jobs for client "Proctor & Gamble Inc", that are labeled "Retainer 2023"

  • Retainer 3: All jobs for client All jobs for client "Proctor & Gamble Inc", that are labeled "Retainer" AND "2023"

  • Retainer 4: All jobs for client "Lotus Bakeries nv", regardless of labels

A retainer in wayahead is nothing but a group of jobs defined by a company name AND/OR one or multiple job labels, regardless of job status, start or completion date.

Setting up a retainer

To create your first retainer wayahead, open the Retainer Report from the Financial area and client New at the top right. You can now fill out the following details:

  • Name: This is just a name we give our retainer in the wayahead report, e.g. "P&G Marketing Retainer 2023". The client name and labels aren't always the clearest way to identify a retainer, so wayahead gives you the option to add your own custom retainer name.

  • Client Name (optional): The name of the client in Streamtime, spelled in exactly the same way.

  • Job Labels (optional): One or multiple job labels, separated by a comma. Again, this is case sensitive and must have the exact same spelling.

  • Monthly Value: What is the monthly charge for this retainer? This value is only used for the Retainer dashboard.

  • Starts (Optional): When will you start invoicing the client? If you leave this option blank, wayahead will automatically work out the start date from the first record encountered (time entry, expense, purchase order or invoice)

  • End (Optional): When does the retainer finish. Same here – wayahead will work it out automatically if you leave it blank.

  • Status: Mostly used for the Retainer dashboard. When a retainer is active, it is added up to the dashboard totals. When the retainer is inactive it is not.

  • Correction (Optional): Default = 0. This is the starting value that will be used in the retainer. Let's say you've been working with a retainer client for 5 years. They didn't use up their budget for last year, so you made a commercial agreement to let them take some of last year's budget along into this year's retainer. In that case, you would set the opening balance to a positive value, e.g. $1,000 means you start the retainer with $1,000 of work owed to the customer. Equally, the opening balance could be negative. If the customer overspent on last year's retainer, you may decide to take it out of this year's and let them start with a negative opening balance.

  • Correction Notes (Optional): Leave some notes for you and the team to understand how the correction came about.

Retainer Dashboard

All the retainers configured in wayahead will determine the figures shown on the dashboard:

With one exception, the data shown here is made up from the retainer setup above.

  • Active / Inactive retainers: How many retainer records are setup in wayahead?

  • Monthly Total: Sum of monthly values of all active retainers combined

  • Annual Total: Monthly total x 12

  • Average Monthly Value: Total monthly value divided by the number of active retainers. This tells you how much you are charging on the average retainer.

  • % of Annual Turnover: For this number, wayahead fetches all invoices in the last 12 months from Streamtime to get your annual revenue of the last 12 months – so note this is not by financial year – you'll see there's a bit of a lag to pull in the information. Then it divides the Annual Retainer Total by the Annual Revenue to work out the %.
    This tells you how much % of your business is retainer business. This is handy in case you have targets around how much retainer business you are aiming for.

Retainer List

Below the dashboard, you'll find the list of all retainers. It's pretty self explanatory, it mostly just shows all the values you filled out when you created the retainer.

  • View retainer details: Just click the table line to open up the retainer details.

  • Click the edit button to modify the retainer settings

Auto Loading

As soon as you open the Retainer report, you'll see that the Balance on each job in the retainer list starts to filled out one retainer at a time. If you do nothing, wayahead will fetch the balance on every single retainer until it's finished.

Auto loading gets interrupted the minute you click to open a specific retainer. The only way to start it again is to reload the page.

Retainer Details

When loading the retainer details, wayahead will fetch all related records from Streamtime based on the company name/job labels configured in the retainer setup.

The following records are retrieved:

  • Todos

  • Expenses and Purchase Proders

  • Invoices

wayahead calculates the retainer status month after month from start to finish and presents it in a retainer chart and a retainer overview.

Retainer Chart

The retainer chart visualises the billing vs the spending on the entire retainer. The green line represents revenue, i.e, the invoices issued each month.

The purple line represents the total sell value of the retainer, i.e. the sum of todo's and expenses/orders.

The difference between them tells us whether we are under or overservicing on the retainer as a whole.

In the example below, things were going quite well until August of 2021. But then suddenly there was a surge of work in September and by the end we over serviced the client a total of €1,700.

Retainer Overview

In the retainer overview you can see the movements on the retainer month for month, like in the example above. For each job you can see the sell value of time entries, the sell value of expenses/orders and the revenue from the invoices.

The total shows the difference between them (Invoiced – Time – Orders)

The total of each job is then added or removed from the retainer balance. You can imagine this balance as a virtual wallet and with every job money is added or removed from that wallet. You'll see the opening balance for each month, so you know exactly how much you owe the client or how much the client owes you.

By default, the opening balance of the retainer 0, but this can be modified using the Correction in the setup. In the example above, the client had an opening balance of €800. They were charged €1200 on the master retainer job. Then there were expenses and orders on 4 more jobs, one of which was also billed out. At the end of that month, they had €1121 in their wallet, ready to start the next month.

In a studio that creates 1 retainer job for each month, it is very common that time entries are made in the wrong job. E.g. Steph has been working on the client's retainer all year. She's recording all her time in March on the March retainer. But by the first of April she has to remember to stop using the March job and record in April instead! We very often see time entries ending up in the wrong month that way.

No worries for the Retainer report, because we bundle all retainer jobs together, it doesn't really matter what job the time was recorded on, we always have our eye on the global picture!

Final Balance and Recovery

You can use the tooltip on the chart to find out the Retainer Balance or Variance at the end of every month so you can clearly see how much you were ahead or behind every step of the way. The variance is the Invoice Total in that month – Sell Total so far.

The Retainer Variance of the last month, is also the one shown in the Retainer List under the dashboard and this number will also show as the last entry in the retainer overview table (previous chapter).

The recovery value shown is the Sell Total in comparison to the Invoice total.

In the example above, we put €19,678 of blood, sweat and tears into the retainer and we only got paid €17,140. So we only recovered 17140/19678 = 87% of the work we did (we overserviced or undersold the job by 13%). Ideally the recovery is always 100% or over.

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